Schools create 36 new courses

June 26, 2013

We were very happy that expanded funding this past academic year allowed us to award integrated curriculum-development grants to a dozen California high schools. The grants enabled each school to take an existing UCCI course as a starting point and develop several more courses aligning with it; in all, they created 36 new courses.

We had a chance to hear about some of these new courses at a strategic planning meeting June 14, when representatives from five of the grant-receiving schools were joined by teachers of existing UCCI courses, who were invited to share their experiences and insights.

The meeting reinforced our belief that when it comes to developing great courses blending rigorous academic study with demanding technical CTE content, the key strategy is to rely on the expertise, creativity and dedication of working teachers . 

The June 14 meeting was informative and inspiring, with teachers letting us know how much they appreciated this opportunity to work on these innovative new courses. The grants did a number of things for their schools and districts, allowing them, for example, to:

  • talk with their staff and colleagues about the new Common Core State Standards, with which all new integrated courses align
  • spend time developing curriculum with colleagues
  • collaborate among different schools sites within a district
  • collaborate across subjects and grade levels, for a true experience in curriculum integration

Experienced UCCI course teachers provided important information about the challenges and rewards of teaching UCCI  courses. Among the rewards: the realization that they were using technology more in the classroom, that project-based learning increased students’ acquisition of transferable skills and that concepts stayed fresh in students’ minds throughout the course, because they were continuously applying those concepts.

With the grants, schools created vertical or horizontal suites of courses in integrated curriculum, giving students more opportunities to explore potential careers while also fulfilling academic college-preparatory requirements - and that’s something we at the UCCI program are very happy about.

Here’s a look at the innovative work each of the grantees completed:

Alvord USD
Lead recipient: Oghwa Ladner
Development team: Oghwa Ladner, Loi Vuong, Georgina Mabika, Steve Collier, Richelle Funkhouser, Malisa Bright, Bruce Bartholomew, Rebecca Cook, Scott Wilcox, Alina Saroni, Danielle Moya, Erik Ramirez, Mark Rasmussen

Taking the UCCI course Algebra 2 for the 21st Century as a starting point, the Alvord team developed three Integrated math courses aligned with the Information, Communication and Technology CTE Industry sector’s Programming and Software Design career pathway. All were submitted for approval in mathematics (“c”).  All also align with the new Common Core State Standards adopted by California.

Antelope Valley USD
Lead recipient: Joyce Foss
Development team: Joyce Foss, Gail DeGroff, Jean Burton, Pavel Vogler

The Antelope Valley team created three courses students will take after completing Language Takes the Stage, the UCCI course the district will adopt. Language Takes the Screen builds on the learning and furthers the concepts in the UCCI course but at a more advanced level. Language Takes Action extends that learning and asks student to create documentary films built on scientific, political, cultural, and environmental issues that they also research and analyze, developing their ELA skills. The CTE capstone course, Language Creates requires students to oversee their own project. They decide if they want to write and act in a movie, to film and broadcast a documentary, or to write, produce, and act in a play.

Anderson Valley HS

Lead recipient: Nadia Berrigan

Development team: Nadia Berrigan, Jim Snyder

The team from Anderson Valley began with Da Vinci Algebra-VPA from UCCI, and built off the AME content of the course to develop a sequence of courses that also teach Arts, Media and Entertainment concepts and skills. Music Production, the first course, allows students to apply the computer and art skills learned in the Algebra course to music production and appreciation. In the second course, Advanced Art Projects, students complete projects that are modeled after existing works of art while applying skills learned in the pre-requisite courses to projects, all while analyzing and understanding how their work fits into a historical and cultural artistic context. These two courses will be submitted for “a-g” approval. The third is Media Design and Production, in which students learn skills necessary for producing and publishing their own art in a digital media context.

Imperial USD

Lead recipient: Phil Villamoor

Development team: Phil Villamoor, Rick Bendix, Dennis Gibbs, Russ Sands

The Imperial team developed three new courses that align sequentially with Biological Links to Energy and the Environment. The first, an introductory survey course called Integrated Science, introduces students to wind, algae and geothermal energy in conjunction as they learn about solar energy and solar panel installation. Chemical Links to the Energy and Environment will do what Biological Links does, integrating lab science skills and concepts with the CTE content, this time in chemistry rather than biology. The capstone course is called Renewable Energy – Applied Physics and Earth/Space Science, in which students further explore the engineering related to clean energy in a hands-on, laboratory environment.

Moreno Valley USD

Lead recipient: Elizabeth Lowe

Development team: Elizabeth Lowe, Jan Barber-Doyle, Mitchell Paik, Patricia Jimenez

With  Biological Links to Energy and the Environment as a place to begin, the Moreno Valley team developed three courses. The first, Urban Horticulture, focuses on plant physiology and growth and prepares students for the biology concepts covered in the UCCI course. The second course, Sustainable Architecture, is designed as a Visual and Peforming Arts course, and allows students to study the relationship between architecture and the external environment, looking at the environment. The third course, Green Energy and Utilities, is an elective; in this course, students will explore the environmental implications of energy conservation, extraction and storage, which lends itself well to the study of chemical and physical thermodynamics.

Pleasant Grove HS

Lead recipient: John Pellman

Development team: John Pellman

Pleasant Grove’s one-man team took UCCI’s approach to course development to create four new courses that integrate visual and performing arts content with Arts, Media and Entertainment content. The first course is an introductory art course that aligns with AME standards. The second two courses, Digital Media Communications 1 and 2, focus specifically on digital media skills and projects and their alignment with the core academic standards of VPA. The final course functions as a capstone type course in which students apply their learning to producing and directing the programming associated with their school’s TV station. 

Sacramento City USD

Lead recipient: Ken Davis

Development team: Ken Davis, Theresa McEwen, Matt Turkie

In three academically rigorous courses developed around Green Up and Go!: Clean Energy-neering, students will learn a variety of skills associated with engineering and energy.  The first course focuses on Computer Aided Design so students can learn about engineering, design and green-clean technologies. In the second course students build robots to analyze solutions to society’s energy needs, and in the third course they continue this work to develop solutions to those problems. The courses will work in a cross-curricular fashion with core academic subjects and will be submitted for “g” approval.

Sacramento City USD

Lead recipient: Chris Schlesselman

Development team: Chris Schlesselman, Robert Diaz, Lynne Ruvalcaba, Janet Lee

This Sacramento City USD team created courses around Green Up and Go!: Clean Energy-neering, sequenced to incorporate CTE Industry Standards from both the Engineering and ICT sectors. Integrated Math with C-programming is the “gatekeeper” course, as the Math and ICT skills learned are essential for the engineering components to be explored. Introduction to Visual Art & Design for Engineers, a VPA course, will give students core skills for engineering and give students an opportunity to earn VPA credit in a  career-relevant context. The final course, Applied Engineering Science, will be the capstone course that will call upon the core skills learned in the sequence.

San Bernardino Public Safety Academy

Lead recipient: Kathy Toy

Development team: Kathy Toy, Tom Conway, Jennifer Stickel, Steve Filson, Greg Kyritsis

Three courses aligned with UCCI’s Journey for Justice include two pre-requisites for the UCCI course. Journey to Justice in America integrates United States History content with Public Services, and a third  pairs English Language Arts with Public Services. The third course, Law and Justice, will be the CTE capstone course and may be submitted for “g”-Elective approval.

San Joaquin COE

Lead recipient: Darrell Wildt

Development team: Darrell Wildt, Jason Edwards, Tom Ribota, Jeremy Love, Gabriel Perez,

Stephanie Omste

The San Joaquin team developed three courses that integrate history/social science with Arts, Media and Entertainment, and align vertically and horizontally with UCCI’s Journey for Justice. World Civilizations/Media and Design Arts and U.S. History/Media and Design Arts will be taken prior to taking Journey for Justice, and a third course, Government/Media Design Arts, will be taken at the same time. In this third course, cross-curricular type assignments will be created that are based on assignments worked on in Journey for Justice.

Valley Charter HS –Stanislaus COE

Lead recipient: Tina Collier

Development team: Tina Collier, Nirona Samuels, Adam Parker, Ernest Gong

The Valley Charter HS team developed two courses that align with both the Math and the ICT content of Algebra 2 for the 21st Century, and they also plan to implement Da Vinci Algebra. Video Game Programming with Pre-Calculus and Take your Game to the Next Level (Calculus) continue the ICT theme with a specific focus on video game programming. A third course, the The Marketing of Geometry will meet “c”-geometry requirements in a Marketing environment. By adopting the two UCCI courses, Valley Charter will be able to offer their students a sequence of five Mathematics courses enriched with real-world applications and relevance.

Riverside County Office of Education

Lead recipient: Suzanne Potter

Development team: Suzanne Potter, Maribel Mattox, Patricia Bazanos, Jacqueline Petrillo,

Cindy Dolan, Patsy Mata-Vasquez, Ruben Flores, Sandi Uribe

The courses created by this team are part of an HSMT pathway. The first, Anatomy and Physiology for the Health Profession, is designed as a lab science course. The second course is Spanish for the Health Profession, in the language-other-than-English subject area. In each of these courses students focus on the core academic skills taught in those respective subjects while also learning the skills required of students pursuing a career in the medical profession. In alignment with the English content of the UCCI course, Applied Medical English, this team also developed Professional Business Communications and Integrated Marketing Communications.

“I've gained more from this institute in regards to curriculum development than any other program I've been associated with in my 12 years of teaching.” 

- Aaron Lemos, Spring 2013 UCCI Institutes